Continually losing market share to Sprite and Sierra Mist, 7Up recently reformulated with more “natural ingredients” to differentiate it from other lemon-lime soft drinks. This is nothing new for the brand, as they have changed the flavor many times over the years.
7Up used to have larger market share when it was distributed by many Pepsi bottlers across the country. Prior to this, Pepsi had experimented with Slice, which failed miserably. Eventually, Pepsi launched Sierra Mist nationally in 2003, which ended up pushing 7Up out of both fountain and shelf space. The new blend is an attempt to get back some market share by featuring just 5 ingredients: filtered carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, natural citric acid, natural flavors, and natural potassium citrate. If it wasn’t for the HFCS, this might actually have been a good thing. But I guess you can’t win them all.
The packaging is the famous 7Up green, but highlighted by a lot of yellow proclaiming “Now 100% Natural” and “More Crisp, Refreshing 7Up Taste!” Images of lemons and limes are also featured prominently on the label. Upon opening the new formula, it smelled like good ole 7Up. However, the taste was different. It still was the traditionally “clean” taste associated with this brand, but something else was there as well. I couldn’t quite place it, but it had similarities to Sierra Mist, which in my opinion, was not a good thing. I’m not a big fan of Mist. The aftertaste is different, but I think I liked the older version of 7Up better.
The problem with 7Up was not the formula. The problem was marketing and support from its owners, Cadbury Schweppes. Hopefully they put some promotional muscle behind this and its sister brand, Dr. Pepper. We’ve already seen quite a push for the 7Up Plus brand extension, with Mixed Berry, Island Fruit, and Cherry getting much attention. How about a little love for the flagship?